Visual Art in Western MA: August Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
August Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Explore Western MA through the lens of visual art! Featured here are August art openings, closings & call for art at galleries, museums and public meeting places across the region, including: Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Williams College Museum of Art in Williamstown, Mill Arts Project in Easthampton, Smith College Museum of Art in Northampton, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, The Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, Schantz Galleries in Stockbridge, and the Michele and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Art in Springfield. Read the rest of this entry »

Support Art Studies this Summer with Community Classes and Art Exhibits

9 Summer Opportunities for Art Studies

To find a gallery exhibition which interests you, check out our post, Visual Art in Western MA: July Openings, Closings & Calls for Art. Glass sculptures, paintings, drawings, and fiber art can all be found throughout the Pioneer Valley this month.

In addition to gallery and museum exhibits for supporting art studies, classes and workshops are being offered this summer at several of our best community resources across the region, including the William Cullen Bryant Homstead in Cummington, Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, the Springfield Museums in Springfield and even Eastworks in Easthampton. Read the rest of this entry »

Storytelling Contest in the Berkshires Celebrates a Sense of Place

Story Slam at the Clark Art Institute Celebrates a Sense of Place

Stone Hill is a prominent geological formation at the heart of the Clark’s campus.

Celebrating the Clark Art Institute’s current exhibit, Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill, a community story slam will coincide on Friday, July 22 at 7pm. Community members are invited to The Clark in Williamstown to hear and tell stories that center around the topic of place.  Stories about the place called home, a particularly meaningful place, or moments of feeling in place, out of place, or displaced are all welcome at this community story slam

On the evening of the event, names of those interested in sharing place-related stories are chosen at random, and those selected are invited to tell their stories up to five minutes in duration. A panel of judges provides feedback and prizes are awarded.  Read the rest of this entry »

Visual Art in Western MA: July Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
July Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Explore Western MA through the lens of visual art! Featured here are July art openings, closings & call for art at galleries, museums and public meeting places across the region, including: The Clark Museum, Schantz Galleries, Wistariahurst Museum, and Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum. Read the rest of this entry »

A Library in Miniature: Tiny Book Show Brings Art Show and Book-Making

A Library in Miniature: Tiny Book Show Brings Art Show and Book-Making

A mobile library of miniature proportions is making its way toward western Massachusetts! The Tiny Book Show, a traveling library of handmade miniature books, will be visiting western Massachusetts on its country-wide tour to showcase a collection of handmade books – all no more than 3 inches tall or wide – created by amateur and expert artists alike from all around the world. A project of New Jersey-based community art organization The Creativity Caravan, The Tiny Book Show is housed and transported in a 1965 Covered Wagon camping trailer, the miniature books nestled together in a similarly miniature former living space.

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The Tiny Book Show will make appearances at three separate locations in Franklin County, offering local families the opportunity to peruse the beautiful handmade books filling the mobile library. Additionally, The Tiny Book Show will be partnering with local community organizations and educational institutions in order to offer book-making workshops, allowing those visiting the library to learn to make their very own original miniature books.  Read the rest of this entry »

Visual Art in Western MA: June Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
June Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Explore Western MA through the lens of visual art! Featured here are June art openings, closings & call for art at galleries, museums and public meeting places across the region, including: Jones Library in Amherst, Porter-Phelps-Huntington Museum in Hadley, Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Kidspace at MASS MoCA in North Adams, and other locations across the region. Read the rest of this entry »

New Placemaking Event Explores the Arts in Westfield

Explore the Arts in Hampden County at Westfield’s Arts on Elm

Western Massachusetts’ omnipotent local arts scene is growing! Last summer in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+ , Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays, Turners Falls RiverCulture, North Adams DownStreet Art, and Holyoke’s Gateway City Arts, all of which support a community’s cultural identify. The region’s newest art walk event – Arts on Elm – will showcase local artists, musicians, makers, and other creators in the heart of downtown Westfield. Presenting a variety of ways to engage with and learn about the arts, Arts on Elm offers families the opportunity to engage in meaningful community-based learning while supporting placemaking.  Read the rest of this entry »

Natural and Cultural Histories of Northampton’s Meadows

The Great Meadow: Natural and Cultural Histories of Northampton’s Meadows
Historic Northampton
May 13, 2016 through June 5, 2016

Once the heart of agricultural settlement in Northampton, today the Meadows is a wild space of parties and encampments, a wasteland where the bomb squad detonates suspicious packages, a nature preserve where birds migrate and birdsong predominates, and a vast farmland where corn is cultivated as it has been for hundreds of years.

The Great Meadow: Natural and Cultural Histories of Northampton’s Meadows at Historic Northampton features the work of three local artists as they represent their unique artistic perspective on the Meadows and its many facets.

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Mobile Art Boxes Support Placemaking in Florence

Florence Night Out Celebrates with Return of Mobile Art Boxes

Mobile Art Boxes will be blooming in Florence again this spring. These wonderful storage containers/pop-up galleries are part of the village-wide festivities that are happening as part of the 5th Florence Night Out, Friday, May 6, 2016. Florence Night out is a fun, free event that celebrates community through creativity. Starting at 3pm Florence will be hopping with art shows and open houses, an outdoor craft market and walking tours, special food and music all over town. Florence Night Out 2016 officially ends at 8pm but music events continue into the night.

Art is a broad term, referring of course to the visual arts but also to music, film, storytelling, theater, and other forms of human expression. The subject of art can be an interesting pathway into philosophical discussions, since opinions on the definition and value of art vary across individuals, Oscar Wilde once said that, “all art is useless,” possibly meaning that the value of art lies in the object itself, not in how it is “used.” The process of making art, however, can have many practical uses. Creating art, whether you are a professional artist or you are just doodling to pass the time, has therapeutic benefits.

Where art is located or performed may influence the way we think about it. Artwork preserved in a temperature-controlled gallery, for example, may affect viewers differently than land art or sculpture. Land art is a medium in which installations are made from natural elements of nature such as soil, rock, leaves, branches, water, etc, and left in that natural environment. As opposed to gallery artwork, land art is meant to be changed over time by weather and environmental events. Land art draws connections between order in nature, and the organization which humans impose upon nature, as these elements blend over time. Gallery art is sought out intentionally, while land art can be stumbled upon by accident.

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Visual Art in Western MA: May Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
May Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Explore Western MA through the lens of visual art! Featured here are May art openings, closings & call for art at galleries, museums and public meeting places across the region, including:  Norman Rockwell Museum,  Yiddish Book Center,  Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art,  Hancock Shaker Village,  Neil Hammer Gallery at Meekins Library, Easthampton City Hall Gallery,  Smith College Museum of Art,  Mount Holyoke College Art Museum, and other locations. Read the rest of this entry »

Museum Adventures: Emily Dickinson Museum

Step into Emily Dickinson’s World

Bee! I’m expecting you!
Was saying Yesterday
To Somebody you know
That you were due –

The Frogs got Home last Week –
Are settled, and at work –
Birds mostly back –
The Clover warm and thick –

You’ll get my Letter by
The Seventeenth; Reply
Or better, be with me –
Your’s, Fly.
Fr. 983

This poem by Emily Dickinson was written in 1865 during the most productive period of her writing life. By the time she turned 35 that year, she had produced more than 1,100 of the 1,789 poems we know of today.  Read the rest of this entry »

Intergenerational Drawing Events Support Creative Free Play & Community Connections

Community Drawing Events Inspire Creative Free Play and Self Expression

Creative free play and artistic expression are the focus of two very unique upcoming community events. Using drawing as a central element, these events illuminate the versatility and expressive potential of the art form. Accessible to self-identified artists, reluctant creators, and everyone in between, spring’s artistic opportunities offer rich community-based learning opportunities relating to creativity and self-expression.  Read the rest of this entry »

Visual Art in Western MA: April Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
April Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

DRAW THEM IN: A Rock Poster Retrospective
Bingo! Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary
April 1, 2016 through April 30, 2016
For 21 years Dan Blakeslee’s mysterious rock posters have been hanging on record store windows, telephone poles and cafe walls. Every bulletin board becomes a gallery, transporting the viewer into his wondrous, strange landscape. He is also the artist behind “Heady Topper” and “Focal Banger” beer labels for The Alchemist Brewing Company. This groundbreaking exhibit, DRAW THEM IN: A Rock Poster Retrospective at the Shire City Sanctuary, will showcase 100 of Dan Blakeslee’s work spanning two decades. Off kilter and whimsical, his pen becomes an acrobat, bombarding each page with expressive line and type. The artwork can be iconic, conjuring up new, bizarre creatures of the old forms, with a nod to Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Fillmore poster artists. Viewers will delight in the masterful blending of art and music woven throughout the work of a brilliant local artist. The exhibit runs April 1, 2016 through April 30, 2016 in the Bingo! Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary. 413-236-9600. 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

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Rock Poster Retrospective: Merging Music & Visual Art Studies

DRAW THEM IN: A Rock Poster Retrospective
Bingo! Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary
April 1, 2016 through April 30, 2016

For 21 years Dan Blakeslee‘s mysterious rock posters have been hanging on record store windows, telephone poles and cafe walls. Every bulletin board becomes a gallery, transporting the viewer into his wondrous, strange landscape. He is also the artist behind “Heady Topper” and “Focal Banger” beer labels for The Alchemist Brewing Company.

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This groundbreaking exhibit, DRAW THEM IN: A Rock Poster Retrospective at the Shire City Sanctuary, will showcase 100 of Dan Blakeslee’s work spanning two decades. Off kilter and whimsical, his pen becomes an acrobat, bombarding each page with expressive line and type. The artwork can be iconic, conjuring up new, bizarre creatures of the old forms, with a nod to Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and Fillmore poster artists. Viewers will delight in the masterful blending of art and music woven throughout the work of a brilliant local artist.

The exhibit runs April 1, 2016 through April 30, 2016 in the Bingo! Gallery. An art opening and concert on Friday, April 1 with thee gallery opening at 5pm and the concert beginning at 7pm.

Gallery at Shire City Sanctuary. 413-236-9600. 40 Melville Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE)

Quilting Offers Multidisciplinary Exploration of Math and Art

Quilting Offers Multidisciplinary Exploration of Math and Art

Often, math and art are seen as opposites: structure and the lack thereof. At the intersection of the two, however, lies quilting: an art form that is inherently mathematical. Families can explore everything from shape identification to tessellations by learning to create quilts together!

Art and math are often seen as being disconnected and opposite from one another: one offering structure and systematic methods, and the other following no predetermined procedures and adhering to no rules. The two are, however, very closely linked and by finding the overlap between creativity and mathematical concepts, families can discover context for and the purpose of some of math’s big ideas.

Quilting offers a fantastic creative entry point for learning math at any age or level. Impossible without basic geometry concepts, quilting involves a great deal of math. The most obvious and easily accessible math topic to explore through quilting is geometry, as all quilts are designed and created based on a complex pattern whose roots lie in the properties of the shapes of the pieces from which it is made. Quilting does, of course, require some sewing skills, but as long as you can sew in a straight line, you can make a quilt. Read the rest of this entry »

Museum Adventures: Hampshire College Art Gallery

Students Work is Center Stage at Hampshire College Art Gallery

Hampshire College opened in 1970, along with an art gallery in its library building designed to give students an opportunity to present their work and enjoy exhibitions of local, national, and international artists. Though it is primarily a teaching space, the gallery has become a great place to experience edgy, engaging works by both well known and lesser-known artists.

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Visual Art in Western MA: March Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
March Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

BerkshireNow: Stephen Dietemann
Berkshire Museum
March 5, 2016 through May 22, 2016

This innovative exhibition will feature the art of architect Stephen Dietemann, along with that of three photographers who have documented Dietemann’s architectural work. The artist has been designing award-winning, energy-conscious, sustainable, contemporary residences in the Berkshires since 2002. He places emphasis on creating homes that not only work on, but enhance, challenging sites. As Dietemann notes, the completed work of architects, especially those who design residences, is rarely seen by more than a few individuals; thus architecture is primarily shared through photography. BerkshireNow: Stephen Dietemann at the Berkshire Museum explores the essential symbiotic relationship between the architect and the photographers who capture and interpret his work. Viewers have the rare opportunity to view how photography captures the “soul” of a building, that which lies just beneath the mechanical and physical surfaces of the final structure, which would otherwise remain largely hidden. The exhibit will be on display from March 5, 2016 through May 22, 2016 at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE W/ADMISSION)

Magician of the Modern: The Art of Leonard Weisgard
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
March 8, 2016 through June 5, 2016

Leonard Weisgard was the first American illustrator to bring the new visual language of modernism to the picture book. As a young boy, Weisgard found himself disinterested in the sentimental realism found in illustrations of that time. His thought that the world “could not be limited to only one color” sparked his interest in developing a more dynamic and playful approach to visual art. In a career spanning six decades, Leonard Weisgard used his whimsical, semi-abstract style to create illustrations in over 200 children’s books including Cinderella (1939), The Golden Egg Book (1947), and The Funny Bunny Factory (1950), among others. At The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Magician of the Modern: The Art of Leonard Weisgard will feature 90 original illustrations representing every major phase of his career, including the public debut of twenty seminal paintings recently restored by The Carle. The exhibit will also feature the artist’s drawing table, a sampling of his art materials, archival photographs, and examples of Weisgard’s New Yorker and other editorial and commercial art. Using various mediums, including paint, crayon, chalk, gouache, pen, and ink, Leonard Weisgard was able to coax his characters and scenery to life through color and creativity. This visual experience will take viewers on a journey through Weisgard’s vibrant career, and the ways in which he revolutionized illustration in children’s literature. The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. 413-658-1100. 125 West Bay Road, Amherst, MA (FREE W/MUSEUM ADMISSION)

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Goshen Rocks! Teen Initiated Arts Expo Comes to the Hilltowns.

Goshen Rocks: Youth Arts Expo Empowers Teen Artists through a Collaborative Network

Teens in western Massachusetts have outstanding skills, knowledge, and creativity to offer to the world! Celebrate their interests and accomplishments at Goshen Rocks: Youth Arts Expo, a collaborative showcase of music, poetry and visual art – all created and performed by local teens!

The Arts Expo is organized through a collaboration between Graffiti Cat Zine and People to Watch: The Next Generation – both are teen initiated arts-based resources that build creative community by connecting local teens with community venues and outlets for sharing their work. In keeping with this mission, Goshen Rocks offers the first event of its kind to western Massachusetts: not only does the expo combine visual, written, and musical creative work, it is the first community-based teen-specific creative event of its kind.

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Community-Based Resource Support Art History: The Clark

Little-known Work by Eugène Delacroix on View at Clark Art Institute

Eugène Delacroix (French, 1798–1863), The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius, c. 1847-50. Private Collection. Photo courtesy Clark Art Institute.

The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius (c. 1847-50) is a little-known but magnificent oil study by French artist Eugène Delacroix, which was displayed only once in 1930.

“One of the great things about being a curator is having the opportunity to encounter and study works of art that haven’t been widely known or exhibited to the public, and in turn to be able to share this knowledge with a larger audience. Delacroix’s The Martyrdom of Saint Sulpicius is one of those wonderful opportunities. There is a great deal to be learned and shared about a work like this that is quite exciting, and gives you the sense that you are unraveling a mystery of sorts,” said Lara Yeager-Crasselt, the Clark’s interim curator of paintings and sculpture.

“Art history is often thought of as being a static discipline—learning the dates of paintings and recognizing artists—but it is extraordinary in the way that it remains a living, breathing discipline that engages the objects themselves as much as the historical and cultural contexts that shaped them, in their own time and in their history thereafter. There are always challenges inherent in that pursuit and this painting is a wonderful example of that kind of challenge.”

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Norman Rockwell’s Civil Rights Era Works on Google Cultural Institute

Norman Rockwell Museum Shares Norman Rockwell’s Civil Rights Era Works on Google Cultural Institute

“Most people view Norman Rockwell as synonymous with American ideals, yet few are aware of his later career shift to illustrate human rights issues,” says Norman Rockwell Museum’s Director of Digital Engagement and Learning, Rich Bradway.

In celebration of Black History Month, Norman Rockwell Museum has partnered with Google to share artworks and artifacts from its permanent collection, that illustrate Norman Rockwell’s dedication to civil rights. Available through the Google Cultural Institute website, “Norman Rockwell In The Age of the Civil Rights Movement” presents Rockwell’s paintings, rarely seen studies, reference photos, and correspondence relating to his important works created during the period; the online exhibition joins over 4000 new items –including 80 exhibits and three expeditions—that document different moments throughout African American history.

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Visual Art in Western MA: February Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Visual Art in Western MA:
February Openings, Closings & Calls for Art

Heath Seniors Painting Exhibit
Heath Free Public Library
Currently on view

The Heath Seniors Painting Exhibit at the Heath Free Public Library will feature more than twenty paintings. These beautiful works of art were created by senior Heath residents this past fall during Open Art Studio sessions in the Heath Senior Center. Both the display and the opening Artists’ Reception offer a unique opportunity to connect across generations. Each senior artist brings rich history and experience to their art, providing a platform for the development of community relationships and learning through storytelling. This creates a mutually beneficial experience, helping children strengthen their sense of place through the building of intergenerational relationships. Heath Free Public Library. 413-337-4934. 1 East Main Street, Heath, MA. (FREE)

Berkshire Now: Peter Gordon
Berkshire Museum
On view through February 21, 2016

This solo show of collages and paintings by Peter Gordon offers a powerful reminder of how our use of natural resources, goods, and services impact the environment. Using a contrast of natural and man-made elements, Berkshire Now: Peter Gordon at the Berkshire Museum emphasizes the fragility of the ecosystem in the context of modern society. In vivid collages, Gordon uses clippings of prices, sales slogans, and real estate offerings as the backdrops for animals, out of place in their now unfamiliar territory. Gordon hopes that his work will encourage viewers to make and promote environmentally conscious decisions in their daily lives. The exhibit is on display now through February 21, 2016 at the Berkshire Museum. 413-443-7171. 39 South Street, Pittsfield, MA. (FREE W/ADMISSION)

Jan Ruby-Crystal
Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery
On view through February 27, 2016

This exhibition of paintings and handmade paper considers themes of life and decomposition as viewed through close visual studies. Jan Ruby-Crystal at Hope & Feathers Gallery displays thoughtful paintings of fruits and vegetables as they decompose, exploring how their patterns and shape changes through the process. The artist offers a transformative perspective as she shows how the decayed pulp can be converted into handmade paper. As the artist notes, “A new beauty arising from their end.” Hope & Feathers Framing and Gallery. 413-835-0197. 319 Main Street, Amherst, MA. (FREE)

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Put Some STE(A)M into Your Valentines!

Put Some STE(A)M into Your Valentines!

This Valentine’s Day, spread friendship and kindness throughout your community by participating in Hilltown Families’ 8th annual Handmade Valentine Swap! Participation is easy – all you have to do is sign up, make ten handmade valentines and drop them in the mail, and you’ll receive ten handmade cards in return. Not only is the event an opportunity for families to connect with others in their community, participation allows families the opportunity to be creative together – an activity that can lead not only to creative-free play, but can also offer hands-on learning in fields like physics, chemistry, geometry and cultural studies!  Read on…

Sidewalk Chalk Art in Downtown Northampton

Northampton Chalk Art Festival

Many children have used sidewalk chalk to create drawings, make hopscotch boards, or write notes and signs. When fine artists take to the sidewalks with their own ideas, the materials and setting are still very relatable for–and interesting to– kids, even if the products are quite different. The artists of this year’s Northampton Chalk Art Festival on Friday, September 11, everyone is invited to observe as they create new masterpieces on the sidewalks downtown.

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Watching these artists at work provides opportunities to learn about different techniques, perspective, proportion, and expressing ideas through art.  Read the rest of this entry »

Using Community Resources to Support and Inspire an Interest is Art

Local Resources Support Community-Based Studies of Art

Park Hill Orchard in Easthampton is home of “Art in the Orchard,” an orchard-based gallery of outdoor sculptures and installation art to peruse with family. Bringing “Culture into Horticulutre,” the orchard features the work of 28 artists whose work is brought to life amongst the apple trees and changing landscape as we move from summer to fall.

Art is ever-present in life, and serves as an important means of communication and self-expression. Much of childhood is spent adding art to the world, and there is much to learn from exploring art and engaging in methods of creation!

Resources abound for learning about everything from art history to art materials, and here in western Massachusetts, the bulk of art-related learning resources are community-based.

From websites to studios to community organizations, there are endless ways for families to learn about and engage in the arts… and we have a great list for you!  Read the rest of this entry »

DownStreet Art Promotes Community Engagement in the Arts in the Northern Berkshires

DownStreet Art Promotes Community Engagement in the Arts in the Northern Berkshires

Previously in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+ , Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays, Turners Falls RiverCulture, and Holyoke’s Gateway City Arts, all of which support a community’s cultural identify. Across western Massachusetts, many communities have become havens for artists of all kinds. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities.

This month, we feature DownStreet Art, an arts organization in North Adams that works to facilitate dialog between the local community and the arts, with the goal of creating social and economic capital as a result. A town formerly dependent on industry, North Adams has seen a rise in the role of the arts in the city community – a change that has helped the city to increase in both tourism and resident participation in community events. Following, largely, the establishment of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (Mass MoCA), the northern Berkshires have seen a rise in the role of the arts in the local community, and since its founding in 2008, DownStreet Art has connected over 100,000 people with arts-based events in North Adams’ downtown district, helping to fuel the cultural resurgence that brings the city to life.  Read the rest of this entry »

Illustration History: Online Educational Resource & Archive for the Art of Illustration

Online Resource Provides Close-Up Look at the Art of Illustration

All children are familiar with illustrations, even if just from noticing an illustrator’s name noted on the cover of a favorite picture book. Illustration as an art form encompasses much more than images for children’s books; the art of illustration includes the creation of images for everything from advertisements to comic books. Using the Norman Rockwell Museum’s newest online resource, Illustration History, families can learn about the numerous forms of illustration, notable illustrators, and the connections between the art of illustration and history, culture, economics, and technology.

Launched just recently, Illustration History serves as both an educational resource and an archive, broadening the possibilities for learning with an extensive database of images and information about artists and illustration history. Read the rest of this entry »

3rd Thursday Celebrates Pittsfield Arts Community

Arts & Cultural Showcase Connects Community to Each Other

The City of Pittsfield Office of Cultural Development is revitalizing 3rd Thursday, the largest free outdoor event series in the Berkshires, and taking the festival back to the street for its ninth season!

Previously in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+ and Turners Falls RiverCulture, both of which support a community’s cultural identify. Across western Massachusetts, many communities have become havens for artists of all kinds. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities.

This month, our focus moves to the Berkshires, where the city of Pittsfield’s 3rd Thursdays is about to kick off its 9th season of arts- and culture-based community events. A project of the city’s Office of Cultural Development, 3rd Thursdays celebrate all that the city has to offer, combing art, performance, food, and local culture to create exciting and engaging events that bring community members together in the heart of the city to learn and connect.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hilltown Draw-Around Unleashes Creative Free-Play!

Interactive Event & Workshops Invites Community to Make its Mark

Draw all over the walls (and the floor and the tables) at the Art Garden’s first annual 12-hour Hilltown Draw Around! Creative types of all ages are invited to participate in art making, community-building, and creative free play all day long!

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to draw all over a room? The Art Garden is offering families exactly that opportunity! The first annual Hilltown Draw Around is a 12-hour interactive community art-making extravaganza held in a paper-covered gymnasium. Families can drop by between 12noon and midnight on Saturday, April 11th for a day filled with drawing workshops, community building, creative free play, and endless opportunities to draw anything and everything. And it’s not just for self-proclaimed artists – anyone and everyone is welcome to come and explore the creative materials available and make their own mark on the event.

A variety of volunteer-lead workshops throughout the day offer participants opportunities to learn new drawing-related skills or to participate in special projects – and many workshops use drawing as an entry point for interdisciplinary learning. A mathematical drawing workshop will teach participants about fractals, geometry, and the Golden Ratio, while a synesthesia-based drawing experience will help participants make connections between spoken language, color, and art, as well as teaching about the cognitive phenomenon that is synesthesia. Read the rest of this entry »

Millennium Project in Pioneer Valley Integrates Art with Citizen Scientists

Exhibition to Document Next Millennium of Climate Change in History’s Slowest Photograph

Formed 200 million years ago in the Late Triassic and boasting hundreds of distinct microclimates, the Holyoke Range is a site selected to document the transformation of the environment over the next 1,000 years.
This spring, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will install a camera, designed by experimental philosopher and Amherst College graduate Jonathon Keats, that will take a millennium-long photograph of the evolving landscape. The museum will unveil the photograph in the summer of 3015. Prior to the camera’s installation at the Mead, it will be it will be on display in the exhibition Jonathon Keats: Photographing Deep Time, on view April 15 through May 31, 2015.

What will the landscape of the Pioneer Valley look like a millennium from now? The Mead Art Museum and artist Jonathon Keats are determined to find out. As part of an exhibition of Keats’ work, the museum will install a special camera that will take a 1,000-year-long photograph tracking the changes in the local landscape over the next millennium.

Created using the basic design for a pinhole camera, the Millennium Camera will use oil paint and the light that enters the camera through a tiny hole in order to create an exposure that will reflect changes in Amherst’s landscape over time. Mounted at the top of the Stearns Steeple, the camera will get something a bit like a bird’s eye view of its surroundings. In 3015, the image created by the camera will be unveiled and viewed by a community living in a very different world than today’s.

The exhibit that marks the camera’s start is titled Photographing Deep Time, and will showcase Keats’ other work in deep time photography, including a 100-year photographic survey of the changing cityscape of Berlin. Rather than being focused on the end result of any image, Keats’ deep photography process is focused on connecting photograph viewers with the changes that take place over time that, together, create the final product.

Older students and adults wishing to hear more about the monumental project and Keats’ artistic process can attend an artist conversation at the Mead Art Museum from 2-3pm on Wednesday, April 15th. Photographing Deep Time will be on display at the museum through May 31st, providing families with the opportunity to explore the intersection of art, science, and the future’s history. This Wednesday afternoon event is free and open to the public and is part of the Arts at Amherst Spring Festival.

The Mead will also produce 100 pinhole cameras, each with a 100-year exposure time, for the public to hide somewhere in the Pioneer Valley, invisibly monitoring changes in the surrounding landscape between now and 2115. The cameras will be available at the Mead for $5 each and will come with a registration card for visitors to document their camera’s location. Participating families can join is a art-based citizen scientists! Read the rest of this entry »

RiverCulture: Another Success Story in the Western MA Arts Scene

Turners Falls Artscape Promotes A Diversity of Artistic Disciplines

Last month in our series spotlighting arts-based community organizations, we featured Easthampton City Arts+, which supports the community’s cultural identify. Across western Massachusetts, communities have become havens for artists of all kinds. The area is chock-full of painters, photographers, sculptors, potters, performers, and other creative types, their work saturating our communities with artistic expression in a wide variety of mediums. Connecting these artists and their work to the the rest of the community are arts organizations, which serve as valuable resources for connecting families with events and community-based learning opportunities.

This month, we highlight the work of Turners Falls RiverCulture, an organization combining art, history, and recreation to build connections between community members and the cultural learning opportunities that exist within Turners Falls. RiverCulture both creates community-based learning opportunities and serves as a vehicle for connecting the community with preexisting opportunities to access resources for learning about local arts and culture.  Read the rest of this entry »

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